Insects of the UK Summer

Insects of the UK Summer - Spiders, Beetles, Moths, and Flies

By Lee Kane / June 12th 2013

Tegenaria gigantea, or the common house spider. Gigantea sounds about right as if you live in the uk you have probably come across one of these monsters crawling along the side of the skirting board or making a dash for it across the living room floor. Not so bad unless you suffer arachnophobia which most of us do to a certain degree.

This beast I managed to capture after a fierce fight. There I was minding my own business watching TV when all of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I see this creature charging towards me.

Tegenaria gigantea aka UK House Spider
'Tegenaria Gigantea' aka UK House Spider

Realizing he'd been spotted he froze dead in his tracks and without taking my eyes off him I slowly got up of the couch and made my way over to a glass I kept especially handy for such occasions.

I picked up an envelope from off the coffee table to scoop him up with and as I approached I could feel the tension in the air and his beady little eyes watching me as I moved in. I got within glass trapping distance, and bending down on one knee glass at the ready, the spider jumped at me.

In slow motion, his body turning in mid flight, he landed on the end of my nose sinking his fangs into me. Boss eyed and reeling I fell backwards onto the couch and flicked him off my face with my hand whilst at the same time watching intently were he landed, I threw myself across the room towards him bringing down the glass and trapping him.

OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but you been there.

(click on the pictures and make them BIG!)

The stag beetle below was photographed in my Landlords garden in June 2008. I remember seeing these every summer as a child growing up but not so frequently these days so I was well chuffed to see this one.

Stag beetles, or in this case "Lucanus-cervus-maskulinum" as there are several types, can live up to 7 years in the earth as larvae before they build their cocoons to transform themselves into the beetle when they then eventually emerge from the ground. You wouldn’t want to get one of those caught in your hair now ladies!

And while im on the subject of beetles this is the Harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis), invader and destroyer of our lovely little "its lucky if it lands on you 7 spot ladybird". Chances are these days if a ladybird does land on you it will be a harlequin.

The Larvae of the Harlequin Ladybird
The Larvae of the Harlequin Ladybird

Be careful not to upset them either as it has a defence mechanism where it bleeds its toxic blood from its knees. They have a tendency to infest the old wooden windows on the first floors of buildings and on warmish early afternoon take flight. If you are unlucky to get an infestation there is not much you can do to get rid of them apart from sucking them up with a vacuum. Gross.

fly caught in mid flight
A fly caught in mid flight.

I photographed this annoying fly while it happily buzzed around my room. I fought I would test out the flash on my camera and followed the fly around the room snapping away until I got this. I know, have I not got better things to be doing.

Evidently not as these insects were found around the house just waiting to be photographed. The cheek! I should have invoiced them. This moth below is a Riband Wave " Idaea aversata", its just awsome the way it blends in with the shower curtian.

Riband Wave Idaea aversata
'Idaea Aversata' Riband Wave Moth

The moth below was actually stuck to the outside of a window and after several days of observation without seeing it move i decided it must be dead. Which is why, I thought, it probably looks so sad. Never mind, bird feed.

dead moth
A dead moth stuck to an outside window.

The daddy longs legs was also hanging out in the bathroom although it may not have been a daddy long legs as its body was yellow and black. Below, also a Garden Bumble Bee 'Bombus hortorum', and a common garden slug, which was photographed in a sand dune in South Wales (watch out for that sea spray fella!).

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